Travel Reference
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they said Buenas noches (goodnight) like one man, and then passed out into the open through
the arched door which had once upon a time been the entrance to the main chapel of the nun-
I was assured that the pulque we were sampling was new and harmless, but unless it were
my Panamanian monkey diet beginning to affect me, it must have been otherwise; the main
thing was that my hosts were delighted, for I had partaken of their salt; I had tasted their
In every village and town we were greeted by crowds, any rancher or charro who had a
horse available riding out to welcome us. When we left one place the horsemen accompanied
us halfway to the next village, where a new delegation awaited us, but the riding with a crowd
hadonegreat drawback, forwewere wrapped inacloud ofdustforhoursat atime. Inseveral
places even the church bells were rung, and there were more fiestas than were good for me.
In fact, I began to envy my horses for the rest they had during the nights. My good Mexican
friends did not realise that they were only making merry for two days in each place, whereas I
was taking on a regular relay, day after day.
From Queretaro on, I rode through a vast, sandy plain that extends towards the north-west
between two mountain ranges that can be seen in the distance. The haciendas which used to
revolutions, and the land around is a semi-desert, shrubbery and cactus plants being the only
things that seem to thrive there, besides a few weeping willows at long intervals where there
is water. Even in the few old estates that existed, very little was to be found, only a few pieces
of the most necessary furniture being kept, in order not to attract ransackers during troubled
times. I saw some of the wilful damage and wholesale destruction that had been done to such
places, especially where Carranza and his army had passed. They had carried everything be-
forethemlikeacyclone; cattle, poultry,wagonsandhouseholdarticles thatmightbeusefulto
them, and what they could not take was burnt or otherwise destroyed.
As but few settlements exist, and these are separated by long distances, I was left to travel
glad of the change. The natives in these parts usually dress in what is supposed to be white.
They wear large, high-crowned straw hats, trousers, and a white apron, of which one corner
is lifted by tucking it under the belt. Instead of boots they use huarachos , as their sandals are
called. The majority of these people are Indians or mestizos, and although they are somewhat
shy and slow in answering a question when one first meets them, I found them to be quite
pleasant once the ice is broken and one has their confidence. They are very hardy people, and
ifgivenachance,aregoodworkers.Thewagestheyreceiveareinsignificant, forc.50perday
(about one shilling) is all they can expect; with this they must keep themselves, and as they
almost entirely exist on tortillas and frijoles , this is possible.
Throughout Mexico I noticed that every hacienda had its church and chapel in former
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